Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) is a major source of inconvenience to the public and impinges on the privacy of individuals. To curb the menace of UCC, TRAI issued the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018 (TCCCPR, 2018) on July 19, 2018, which put in place a framework for controlling UCC. The regulations came into force w.e.f. 28.02.2019. With its implementation in a co-regulatory manner with support from all Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), an ecosystem based on blockchain (Distributed Ledger Technology-DLT) has been created. A first of its kind in the telecom field in the world, DLT has given transparency amongst TSPs and the regulator in the management of UCC/spam.
The Regulation has mandated registration of all commercial promoters and Telemarketers to register on DLT platform and seek customer consent for receiving various kinds of promotional messages at time and day of their choice. There are about 2,50,000 Principal Entities registered with more than 6,00,000 Headers and approx. 55,00,000 approved message templates which are being pushed to consumers through registered Tele Marketers & TSPs using DLT platforms. This has resulted in substantial reduction of customer complaints to the extent of 60% for Registered Tele Marketers (RTMs). Now complaints are reported against Unregistered Tele Marketers (UTMs), where surge has been seen in pushing various kinds of UCC SMSs. Additionally, UCC calls are also one of the concerns which need to be dealt equally along with UCC SMSs.
TRAI in coordination with various stakeholders is taking necessary steps to check UCC from UTMs also. These steps include- implementation of UCC detect system, provision of Digital Consent Acquisition, intelligent scrubbing of the Headers & Message templates, using AI (Artificial Intelligence) & ML (Machine Language), etc.
TRAI has further taken an initiative to form a Joint Committee of Regulators (JCOR) consisting of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities & Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) and Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MoCA) to frame joint action plan to curb financial frauds using Telecom resources. In the recent meeting of JCOR held on 10th November 2022, which was attended by the representatives of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also, measures to curb the UCC further was deliberated in detail.
TRAI also runs various campaigns to educate consumers to make them aware of provisions and safeguards in the regulations and to be alert for such fraudulent messages.